An Amtrak passenger train derailed off a bridge and onto an interstate highway in Washington state in December. Photo: David Ryder / Bloomberg via Getty Images

A spate of fatal accidents spotlights a struggling rail service, per USA Today's Trevor Hughes.

The big picture: Amtrak has seen three high-profile accidents, which killed a total of 6 people and injured nearly 200, since December. "While all three of Amtrak's most recent crashes [in as many months] appear to have different causes, some critics are calling for changes to the organization's approach to safety."

  • "Amtrak remains popular with riders and lawmakers from both rural and urban areas."
  • "Still, Amtrak ... is under the gun. President Trump has proposed slashing Amtrak's annual subsidy and forcing it to cut unprofitable long-haul trains in favor of services like the Acela."
  • "Railroad advocates point out that trains remain far safer than cars, which killed 37,000 people last year across the country. "

Go deeper

Updated 36 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Voters in Wisconsin, Michigan urged to return absentee ballots to drop boxes

Signs for Joe Biden are seen outside a home in Coon Valle, Wisconsin, on Oct. 3. Photo by KEREM YUCEL via Getty

Wisconsin Democrats and the Democratic attorney general of Michigan are urging voters to return absentee ballots to election clerks’ offices or drop boxes, warning that the USPS may not be able to deliver ballots by the Election Day deadline.

Driving the news: The Supreme Court rejected an effort by Wisconsin Democrats and civil rights groups to extend the state's deadline for counting absentee ballots to six days after Election Day, as long as they were postmarked by Nov. 3. In Michigan, absentee ballots must also be received by 8 p.m. on Election Day in order to be counted.

44 mins ago - Technology

Facebook warns of "perception hacks" undermining trust in democracy

Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Facebook warned Tuesday that bad actors are increasingly taking to social media to create the false perception that they’ve pulled off major hacks of electoral systems or have otherwise seriously disrupted elections.

Why it matters: "Perception hacking," as Facebook calls it, can have dire consequences on people's faith in democracy, sowing distrust, division and confusion among the voters it targets.

Obama: Trump is "jealous of COVID's media coverage"

Former President Barack Obama launched a blistering attack on President Trump while campaigning for Joe Biden in Orlando on Tuesday, criticizing Trump for complaining about the pandemic as cases soar and joking that he's "jealous of COVID's media coverage."

Driving the news: Trump has baselessly accused the news media of only focusing on covering the coronavirus pandemic — which has killed over 226,000 Americans so far and is surging across the country once again — as a way to deter people from voting on Election Day and distract from other issues.